Home Depot & Team Rubicon volunteers sort debris despite cold weather

By WEEK Reporter

December 10, 2013 Updated Dec 10, 2013 at 10:52 PM CDT

WASHINGTON, Ill. -- 132 Home Depot volunteers partnered with Team Rubicon to clean up and sort debris in Washington.

Team Rubicon is a national volunteer organization that sends former veterans and first responders to help during times of disaster.

"Team Rubicon is a national emergency response team of first responders and veterans," said Team Rubicon team manager Chris Doing. "We've got a group from the home depot foundation going through helping us go through these piles to facilitate the removal of debris."

Team Rubicon managed seven teams of Home Depot volunteers that came from as far away as Saint Louis and Chicago.

Despite the bitter cold weather and blistering winds, volunteers like Nancy Henry were happy to be there.

"It is freezing out here. I think it's about 17 degrees and the wind has picked up so it's really cold out here," said Henry. "We Have lots of hand warmers and lots of coats, so we're bundled up, but you know it's well worth what we're doing for the community."

Doing added, "It's cold, and it's windy. We're getting a lot of supplies, hand warmers and taking breaks as we can but there's a lot of heart and a lot of people out here working."

The teams separated debris into several categories including electronics, large appliances, hazardous waste, vegetative debris, construction debris, and household garbage. This is one of the last steps of debris removal.

This work can save each homeowner an average for $6,000-$7,000 worth of clean up costs.

"I hope that they see that people do care and that we haven't forgotten about them. We're out here trying to help them get their lives back together," said Henry.

"It's amazing to see all these people come here to do these kinds of jobs," said Doing. "It's really inspiring."

Volunteers crews will be out there for at least the rest of the week.